That’s a smaller benefit than previously projected for a plan favored by the White House.
Republicans are considering repealing the coverage rule in the ACA as a way to pay for far-reaching changes in the tax code. The mandate repeal pay-for savings would come from the government spending less to subsidize Obamacare plans as more people opt to forgo health coverage.
The estimate is a preview of a report the nonpartisan CBO plans to release later Wednesday.
While ending the mandate could free funds up for a tax overhaul, it would also leave more people without health insurance: CBO estimated in December that 15 million more people would be uninsured if the mandate was ended, and premiums would increase 20%. The agency is expected to provide an updated coverage estimate Wednesday.
The mandate is meant to spread risk evenly among healthy and sick people to help keep overall costs down. Without it, healthier people could buy cheaper plans that don’t meet ACA coverage requirements, while those who need care, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions, will face rising costs.
Concerns about coverage losses doomed a Senate bill that would have ended the mandate while leaving other parts of the ACA intact, known as “skinny repeal,” in July.